Tetris is getting a 21st century makeover!
This new board game from Buffalo Games brings all the fun of the hit ’90s video game to the physical world. Perfect for kids ages 8 and up, Tetris pits friends head-to-head as they battle to find the perfect pieces to fit their puzzles.
Gameplay is pretty simple and generally follows the rules of the aforementioned video game. Each person plays at the same time by flipping over a Tetris card to reveal which tetrimino (little Tetris piece) they will be adding to their matrix (grid). The game can be played with 2-4 players for one-on-one gameplay or family fun.
Each person can then rotate and move their piece to best fit their own personal puzzle, but must drop a piece by the end of each turn. Players earn points for every horizontal line they complete and can even earn extra points by matching playing pieces with icons embossed into their matrix. At the end of the game, the player with the most points takes home the coveted title of Tetris Champion.
Tetris is the perfect game for family game night, incorporating the ’90s nostalgia that parents love (let’s be honest with ourselves) while entertaining little ones for hours. The best part? This version of Tetris is screen-free, letting game night center around laughing and connecting with family. It’s the perfect game to take camping, to the beach, or anywhere else without Internet access.
It’s also easy to learn and although the recommended age is 8 and up, I think it’s great for every member of the family, no matter their age. However, if you have some older kids in your brood and you’re thinking of ways to make the game more challenging — why not try the advanced version of Tetris?
Included in the instruction manual, the advanced game levels Tetris up a few notches. Gameplay is similar, but focuses on achievement cards and strategic gameplay. Kids will have to think through their moves more than in the original game, but the thrill of winning is worth it.
Because this game isn’t digital anymore, there are a LOT of tiny pieces to keep track of. I recommend playing on a large surface — my dining room table did the trick, but watch out for pets who love little pieces. The tetriminos easily slide out of the matrix and come stored in their own baggies, making clean-up easy if you’ve managed to keep track of all the pieces. It may be harder to take Tetris outdoors, but its compact case allows for easy transport to other indoor game night locales.
I tried playing the two-player version of Tetris. It was extremely easy to set up and understand the basics, however it can be hard to slide the pieces into the correct notch. The matrix has to face each player a certain way so that the pieces line up with the openings, otherwise they won’t go in. I also recommend adding your own rules after you’ve mastered the advanced game — maybe you can only use one color or can only use a set amount of pieces. Either way, it was extremely satisfying to play Tetris IRL after using it as a procrastination technique in school.
Tetris is a great choice for game night, whether you’re playing with family or friends. Although part of the joy of digital Tetris is that it never ends, we all know that it’s fun to win every once in a while.